It’s so cute I will cry.
Heartstopper (the entire series) should be required reading for high schools, honestly. I read a lot, as you can probably tell, and I think this is the best series out there that actually portrays what it’s like being a teenager. It encapsulates so much about the anxieties of growing up and Oseman is able to tackle these issues in a way that feels very real, but not overly preachy and adult-centric.
In this volume, the relationship between Charlie and Nick continues to develop. Charlie is struggling with how to tell Nick he loves him, and worries constantly whether it’s too soon to tell him how he feels. Meanwhile, Nick is continually worried about Charlie’s suspected eating disorder and how it is affecting his daily life. Nick wants to be a supportive boyfriend but also is afraid of approaching the topic with Charlie because Charlie loves to push away feelings and emotions and react instead, a trait we can pick up in the text as something he’s picked up from his mother. Charlie and his mom have a strained relationship, mostly because she lashes out rather than saying the right thing, and Charlie is so obsessed with his love and having a boyfriend that he doesn’t realize it is consuming him.
The relationship between Nick and Charlie is very realistic because they are each other’s first loves, so of course, they want to spend all their time together. That being said, they also have to work to find the love/life balance of their relationship and not neglect the other people around them. Nick is so strong and I love how Oseman is able to show how both Nick and Charlie’s families are different, though both love their sons. They approach showing that love in different ways, and because of their upbringings, Nick is more comfortable in speaking about his emotions with his mother but is closed off from his neglectful father and brother. Charlie is closer to his sister but shuts down when he has to deal with his mother. Both support their sons being gay but don’t always know how to express their emotions, just like their children.
Charlie also deals with some pretty big trauma in this book as he has an eating disorder and Nick helps him come to terms with that fact. He ends up getting help, though the road to help isn’t easy and Oseman discusses it in a very honest way. I think this is the kind of trigger that a person needs to be okay with in order to read this volume, but Oseman includes the phrase in her summary so readers know that is a topic that will be covered.
I love this series. It’s so pure and reminds me so much of my own high school experiences. Nick and Charlie’s friend group is fantastic and interesting, and volume five cannot come sooner.
Title: Heartstoppers V. 4
Author: Alice Oseman
Three Descriptors: Heartfelt, Emotional, Honest
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